Miss Avril Tynan

Supervised by

  • Colin Davis First/primary/lead supervisor


Personal profile

I have a BA in French Studies from the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP), a MA in Holocaust Studies from Royal Holloway, and a PhD in contemporary French literature from Royal Holloway, fully funded by the AHRC. I am a visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway, and have taught French language and culture from 2012 to the present. This academic year (2016-17) I am the core tutor on the new ab initio French programme at Royal Holloway (FR1010) and on the Languages For All evening classes.

Research interests

My PhD, 'Spectres of Patriarchy: Reading Absence in Jorge Semprun', was awarded in July 2016.

Abstract: Jorge Semprun’s narratives of memory are intricately manipulated and mediated, exhibiting to the reader a carefully selected performance of communicable and comprehensible experience, concentrated on the page and between the covers. However, his effusive presentation of text is merely a veneer, obscuring the abyss of an incommunicable and unimaginable history. Semprun’s secrets lie in the silenced substrata of his literary and cinematographic projects, illuminated through close readings and comparative analysis. From the gaps and ellipses in his works emerges the unwanted and unwritten (unwriteable) spectre of a useless and absent father, concealed in the visible in-visibility of fetishized memory. Eliding the paternal figure, Semprun challenges the universality of the Lacanian phallic signifier, the nom-du-père, and undermines the paternalistic and patriarchal Symbolic structures of his life and works. José María Semprún Gurrea haunts every word of his son’s memorial enterprise, becoming a duplicitous voice that negates and displaces subjective identity as a self distinct from an other. The phallogocentric construction and perception of history, expressed by a dominant and unwavering patriarchal discourse, is subverted, as the fatherly elision liberates the author from the paternalistic constraints of linguistic order. From the silenced negative space of literature emerge the Derridean spectres of forgotten others: woman, the exile, the dead, haunting the insidious structures of European patriarchy. Semprun’s works transgress the boundaries of absence and presence, life and death, sublimating time, space, and identity, so that textual absence engulfs the narrative: the author writes himself out of existence. Semprun is haunted by a paternal phantom, but his auto-erasure demonstrates that he too is already a ghost, his repetitious absence from the life of his own son a chilling revelation of the causes and effects of the failures of paternity and patriarchy in the post-World War II era.


Languages for All
French language evening classes, Beginner (A1) and Intermediate (A2-B1).

French ab initio (FR1010)
Intensive French language lessons for undergraduate students.

Jan-Apr Languages for All
French language evening classes

Sept-Apr FR1009P (French language practice) Five seminars of one hour each teaching French grammar and language practice to first year students
Oct-Nov FR2009O (French oral) Temporary cover of second year oral classes
Oct-Nov FR2009W (French writing) Temporary cover of second year written classes

Sept-Apr FR1009P (French language practice) Four seminars of one hour each teaching French grammar and language practice to first year students

Sept-Dec FR1001 (French written language) Hour seminar to first year undergraduate students
Jan-Feb FR2105 (French film) Lectures and seminars to second year students. Teaching the film Hiroshima mon amour

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